Nats Win!

Wow, what a ride.  And of course it all happens after I went to bed!  Bah.  Sometimes I hate having to get up for work early, but it’s a necessary evil I suppose.

Kinda weird though, considering this isn’t even MY team.  I haven’t followed the Nationals all year, but since my Boston Red Sox didn’t make it to the post-season (after winning it all in 2018), I needed a new ‘pony’ to root for.  In steps the Washington Nationals, the relocated Montreal Expos, the first baseball team in Washington, DC since the Senators moved to Texas to become the Rangers in 1972.

Certainly someone to root for.  They were perennial underdogs in the post-season, and as I understand it, they started out the season 19-31, so not exactly a suggestion that they were even going to be around at the end of the season, much less make the playoffs.  But they were scrappy, and made the most of what they had, and to add insult to injury, it was a year removed from when Bryce Harper left for a big payday in Philadelphia.  I bet he’s kicking his own ass over that boner.  Nice job, Bryce.

A very weird World Series to be sure.  Every game, the visiting team won.  Not once did home field advantage come into play this year.  It was almost as if someone thought, “hey, let’s make the visiting team win every game in the series” as if that was the best idea in the bag.  Certainly no one expected the Nats to win the first two games in Houston.  But as soon as they traveled back to DC for games 3-5, there was whispers of a sweep.  Or a meltdown by the Astros, and it would be season over and a ‘World’ Championship for the Nationals at home.  But, irony as they say, has a sense of humor.

So, every game was a barn burner in DC.  Every game, one thought that this one was the one the Nationals were going to win, to put away the Astros, but no.  EVERY win, was the Houston Astros.  What?  How was that even remotely possible.  But it happened.  And we all watched it happen.  Boggled.  At the end of Game 5, going back to Houston, the pundits were thinking the other way.  It was going to be Houston’s Series.  They were going to win their second Series in 3 years.  But again, dun dun duuuuunnnnnnn…irony.

In a ‘must-win’ game, the Nationals beat the Astros in Game 6.  Stephen Strasbourg pitched a gem, and their third baseman, Anthony Rendon exploded for 5 RBI’s during the course of the game.  Justin Verlander, who the Astros had picked up from the Detroit Tigers, collapsed =again= in the post-season.  Couldn’t manage to win for his team.  He’s a great pitcher, but for whatever reason, put him into a post-season game and he can’t finish what he started.  At the end of the night, the score was 7-2, Nationals.  Another Game 7 was in the offing.

Max Scherzer, the ace of the Nat’s staff, had the ball for the game.  He was supposed to start Game 5, but for whatever reason he had a neck spasm and was unable to start that one.  Miraculously, over the course of several days he had a shot of something in his back and was able to recover in order to pitch last night.  Certainly he wasn’t brilliant in his start, he gave up 2 runs, but he pitched actually pretty good.  I would say all the starters on both teams pitched pretty well, for the most part the series was won and lost in the bullpens.

If one were to post the stats for both teams on a board and compare them, the Astros should have won the series hands down.  But baseball, while now being a game that’s figured out on stats sheets, it’s still played on the field, where stats don’t really matter in the aggregate.  Just because a certain right handed pitcher is great against right handed batters doesn’t mean he’s going to get every single one out.  There’s always the element of surprise.  The element of, who knows what’s going to happen.  And that’s what makes the game watchable.  The unknown factors.  It’s why in Games 1 & 2, with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander pitching for the Astros, the Nats shouldn’t have won either game.  But they did.  And in convincing fashion.

Bottom line, the Nationals won me over for now.  I even went out and bought a Nationals cap and wore it out in public, despite being a die-hard Red Sox fan.  Come next year, I’ll be rooting just as hard for the Red Sox as I did this past year.  And I’m just pleased as punch the Yankees didn’t get to the series.  The deserving team won in 2019.  Congratulations to the Washington Nationals.  Nice job, guys.

Wrestling Rut

Monday evenings television watching has been in a rut for the last several years.  Tuesdays too, if the truth be known.  Generally we eat dinner at 8 pm, which for many is considered ‘late’, but we don’t have children (not the human kind) and I’ve been lax for many years and that’s when we eat.  When we eat, we watch television, like many families do.  I remember growing up we didn’t watch when we ate, we ate as a family, in the kitchen, and the television was in the family room, although in my parents’ house, the family room and the kitchen were adjoining.  Basically one large room from one side of the house to the other.  I visited the property in 2017 and was able to peek into the bay window that exposed to the backyard and that’s still the case.  Sure there’s a skylight that wasn’t present when I was living there, but the new owners have effected several changes in the time that it’s been owned by others.  For better or worse.

Presently, for the past say ten years, we watch pro wrestling on Monday nights.  Granted it’s my preference, not my wife’s but we compromise.  She likes to watch reality competitions like Survivor, TopChef, Hell’s Kitchen, Project Runway (et al) and I suffer through them just like she suffers through the wrestling shows.  Too,  I like to watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and she can’t stand ‘Lard Weasel’, but again she suffers for my sake, just like I do for her and her shows (I particularly detest RuPaul’s Drag Race and Below Deck, but again, it’s for a good cause)

The last several weeks however, I’ve been getting a little tired of the pro wrestling and have been seeking out other things to watch that aren’t the ‘same ol, same ol’ plotlines and conjured violence and drama that has been the WWE lately.  Matter of fact this past Monday I switched to the National Geographic channel and their relatively new series ‘Drain the Ocean’.  It’s where they do a detailed workup of a certain section of water (ocean, river, or some body) and investigate what might have become of whatever they’re looking at.  The 8 pm episode detailed certain areas of New York’s harbor, from a time during the American Revolution, to the 19th century in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.  They even took a crack at the wreck of a steamer called SS Oregon, that was supposedly sunk by a German sea mine in 1918.  Very heady stuff and very interesting for someone who is a historical buff like myself.

There have been other episodes, dealing with infamous ships like Titanic and Bismarck, as well as lesser known ships like the one that was discovered near the original footprints of the Twin Towers post 9/11.  That particular ship was theorized to be a river barge owned (or merely used) by the Royal Navy around the time of the American Revolution, as the timbers were dated to the tree having been felled about 1773.

Honestly, I haven’ t been missing watching the mindless pap of pro wrestling.  Too, there’s been a brouhaha about a new wrestling outfit called AEW that will (this coming fall) be directly challenging WWE for supremacy in the business.  Not a bad thing, since McMahon and company could do with a bit of competition.  They’ve been the ‘big dog’ out there with their monopoly for too long, and I think their product has become very stale.  There was a time about ten years ago when I stepped away from watching them religiously every week, and I think I’ve come to that tipping point again.  Certainly there are ways to keep up with what’s going on with it, via online and on YouTube, and if I’m overly interested, I can read about the various storylines if I wish to.  But on Monday and Tuesday nights, I think I’m going to be watching other things.  More interesting ones.

 

Really, Tiger?

I have to admit, I just lost a little respect for Tiger Woods.

There’s a little situation brewing at the upcoming PGA Championship this week, and it just happens to involve Tiger Woods and John Daly.  Woods, who just recently came back to the PGA Tour (and won The Masters again) was taking questions after a practice round at the Bethpage golf course on Long Island, where the tournament is being played again.

He was asked what he thought about another golfer, (John Daly) being allowed to use a motorized cart to get him around the course.  Pro golfers walk the course as a rule, though they have caddies toting their bags, so they’re not completely burdened while they play.  Daly has had knee issues for years, and he’s not exactly young anymore.  (He’s 10 years older than Woods, FWIW) He asked for an exception to be made by the tournament (and Tour) and it was granted, though he did have to invoke the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ in order to plead his case.

Woods was asked his thoughts on the issue, and Tiger, being Tiger had to say something.  He opted to be smug, invoking his performance at the 2008 US Open where he played through what must have been pretty excruciating pain caused by two stress fractures in one leg as well as a torn ACL, not to mention he’d had knee surgery a couple of months prior to the tournament.   Going completely against his doctor’s recommendations, he played the tournament.  And he won.  How he managed it is anyone’s guess.  Of course, it wasn’t a blow-out, he had to endure an 18 hole playoff the day after the fourth round since he was tied with the runner-up after 72 holes.  One wonders what would have happened if he’d lost.  How many would have looked down their noses and said ‘Told you so’.

But in this instance, Tiger could have sidestepped the question.  Or he could have been non-committal.  Instead, he opted to say “I walked with a broken leg, so…” as if that was the end all and be all.  What he’s conveniently forgetting is that he made the choice to go against doctor’s orders and play anyway.  He didn’t have to.   He chose to do it.  And yes, it paid off for him.  It very well might not have.  So, simply because he lucked out and managed to win, he gets to make that sort of value judgment.  Yeah, BS.   Others have made similar noises, but honestly, unless they’re in that situation themselves, maybe they need to keep those comments off the record.  We’re fairly certain Daly isn’t going to be contending for the lead, he’s playing out his time, and he’s a pro golfer, so why not let him ride in a damn cart.  It’s not as if he’s getting some huge advantage after all.

Tiger Woods needs to come back down to earth, where the rest of us reside.  He’s not invincible, he’s damn sure, not perfect.  And come 10 years from now, when he’s as old as John Daly is now, I wonder if his back and knees are bothering him as much, is he going to be the one asking for a helping hand?  I’d be curious to see.